Central York lineman Josh Gaffney named to Big 33 Pennsylvania roster


Josh Gaffney now has to wait one more day to play his final high school football game, but he doesn't mind.

The Central York High School senior lineman was added to the Pennsylvania roster for the 2021 Big 33 Game on Thursday after a player dropped out. Gaffney joins his Panthers' teammate, Judah Tomb, and Dallastown's Mitchell Groh in the contest, set for Monday, May 31, at Central Dauphin's Landis Field.

Central York's Josh Gaffney (73) will play college football for the University at Albany.

The 6-foot, 4-inch, 310-pound Gaffney was set to play in the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association East-West Game on Sunday, May 30, along with several of his teammates — running back Isaiah Sturgis, tight end Kyle Fontes, wide receiver Taylor Wright-Rawls, defensive lineman Seth Griffiths, linebacker Jack Smith and safety Victor Pena. Gaffney was one of several Panthers to also receive all-state honors this season.

He got a call from Central York coach Gerry Yonchiuk informing him that we going to move up to the Big 33 Game, which is also run by PSFCA. When he learned the news, he was excited to complete a goal he set for himself years ago to play in the event that has a special meaning to him.

Josh Gaffney

“Mostly the history of the whole game. Many great players have played in that game and I have always wanted to (play in it) since I was in middle school,” Gaffney said. “It’s been something I wanted to work toward.” 

In addition to playing one final game with Tomb, Gaffney gets a chance to meet some of his college teammates early. Gaffney is signed to play football for The University at Albany, an NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision Program, and he gets to team up with Delaware Valley lineman Mike Gecik and Northeast High lineman Amara Yobouet before the trio head to New York in the fall.

Central York's Josh Gaffney (73) will play for Pennsylvania in the Big 33 Game.

Gaffney and Tomb are the latest Panthers to play in the area's premier all-star game and join 2019 Central York graduate Cade Pribula as Big 33 honorees. After a season that  appeared unlikely to even begin, Gaffney was grateful to have achieved all that he and his teammates did accomplish and get a chance to promote the program. The Panthers went 10-1 in 2020, won a District 3 Class 6-A title and advanced to the state 6-A final.

“Going into this year maybe not even having a season and now going to states, making Big 33 and doing a bunch of team things as well as personal goals, it’s good to represent Central York football because not a lot of kids from the York County area get to go big and I think this is helping put York County on the map and represent Central York football in the best way possible,” Gaffney said.

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.